Ye shall reap what you sow

Farm field fire

This field near Grady is the subject of a controlled fire to rid of all vestiges of the crops just harvested from its soils. Despite the catastrophic appearance, the fire is under control. Such fires are an agricultural management procedure.

Ye shall reap what you sew
(With any kind of luck)

Tractor setting fire to field

Click on the tractor to see a field fire starting.

With the practice of planting winter crops as soon as the spring and summer crops are harvested comes the problems of the detritus left by the former crop. In some cases, farm operators will plow and/or disk the remnants of last crop.  If time is of essence; they often will burn the fields which gives the best cleanup as Mother Nature intended.

When a field burns, in most cases it gives the appearance of the inferno that Sodom and Gomorrah experienced. Since the preferred burning time is in the absence of wind, the smoke tends to pillar which exacerbates the Biblical vision. The truth is, fields don’t have much fuel to to sustain a fire for a long time, so the wicked look is short lived and the fires die out quickly.

See a field burn-off up close and personal on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot-com, as in: see how one farm gets the blaze underway.

Harvest time in LA (lower Arkansas) is a frenzy of combines, tractors, trucks, and still to some extent cotton pickers, all of which, if a farmer wants to reap what he sows, need to come together at the right time, Mother Nature permitting.

Combine harvesting soybeans

This farmer is harvesting soybeans eight rows at a time. It is easy to spot a harvest from a distance since harvest machinery creates a substantial plume of dust from the soil and crops.

A week or so ago, all of the stars came together at the right time and harvest in our environs got under way in a big way. The ground was dry enough to support harvesting machinery and the crops were sufficiently dry to avoid financial penalties due to excessive moisture.

Combine emptying freshly harvested soy beans from a combine to a grain cart

The farmer above is emptying the bean-laden hopper in his combine into a grain cart. After another hopper full or so, the contents of the cart will be transferred to an 18 wheeler which will take the crop to temporary storage. This guy was good. While the beans were unloaded he maneuvered the huge combine to make sure the beans were evenly distributed in grain cart.

Corn ready for harvest near Grady Arkansas

I fought the grass and the grass won. After corn has done its job and produced the next generation the plant withers and dies. Not so for the grass and weeds that attempt to take over crop lands. This corn will soon fall to the combine.

Harvested corn dropped in field by a combined

When then corn is harvested the machinery, in its mangling process. will occasionally jettison some crop materials that should have gone to the hopper. It’s an expected function of machine harvesting. Critters and Mother Earth appreciate the largess of the machine.

Cotton bolls in a field near Grady Arkansas

There’s very little cotton grown now here in the plethora of fields that were formerly populated by King Cotton. Here’s a glance at some of the 2016 crop that’s not far from picking. It will be hit with a defoliant and as soon as the leaves drop, the cotton picker swoops in and strips the plants of their lint.

Thanks for looking,

Joe Dempsey
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind


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